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Egypt condemns Prophet Muhammad cartoons, calls for ban Open in fullscreen

The New Arab Staff

Egypt condemns Prophet Muhammad cartoons, calls for ban

Sisi said freedom of speech 'stops' when Muslims are offended. [Getty]

Date of publication: 28 October, 2020

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President Sisi and Al-Azhar have both condemned the publication of cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad in France.
Egypt President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi has waded into the debate over the publication of cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad, saying that freedom of speech "stops" when Muslims are offended.

The comments come after Al-Azhar University - one of preeminent places of learning for Sunni scholars - called on the international community to criminalse "anti-Muslim" sentiments.

President Emmanuel Macron has defended the publication of the cartoons by satirical French magazine Charlie Hebdo and promotion of them by activists, after the murder of a schoolteacher who had shown students the offending images.

For many in France the publication has become a free speech issue, but Sisi said that such actions should stop if they hurt Muslims.

"We also have rights. We have the right for our feelings not to be hurt and for our values not to be hurt," Sisi said during a speech to commemorate the Prophet Muhammad's birthday.

"Please, stop hurting us," Sisi said. "To insult the prophets amounts to underestimating the religious beliefs of many people."

He then went on to criticise France's claims that the illustrations of the Prophet Muhammad is a fundamental aspect of free speech.

"And if some have the freedom to express what is in their thoughts I imagine that this stops when it comes to offending the feelings of more than 1.5 billion people," he added

Macron insists the government is only against "Islamism" and extremism and not Islam, but the debate has seen him engaged in a diplomatic dispute with Turkey's Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

Read also: French government shuts down major Muslim charity as 'Islamophobic' anti-extremism campaign continues

Sisi has engaged in his own crackdown on Islamists and free-speech advocates.

Since the military overthrew Egypt’s first democratically-elected government in 2013, Sisi has banned the Muslim Brotherhood and thrown thousands of its supporters in jail.

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